Magnolia area school playground damaged by fire

November 13, 2012 4:31:57 PM PST
Stopping short of calling it arson, Montgomery County investigators do say the fire that destroyed an elementary school playground seems suspicious.

Beatriz Andrew-Sosa says her twin daughters love their school, but she doesn't like what happened to Smith Elementary's playground Monday night.

"It's dangerous," she said. "I don't like it, with my daughters in class, for this to happen."

Around 6:50pm Monday, the front playground at the Magnolia ISD school caught on fire. Vanessa Wier watched firefighters quickly put it out.

"We just drove by, and there were a lot of fire trucks and cop cars and a little bit of fire going on," she recalled.

The day after the blaze it was evident that the wooden portions of the playground suffered the most damage. Precinct 5 Constable's Office says the fire is suspicious. But the Montgomery County Fire Marshal says he's not ready to call this arson.

Moms, though, say they're upset, no matter what the cause.

"It's awful, especially it's an elementary school number one, and there's a neighborhood right behind," said Nicole Shiflett.

In a statement, the school district said in part, "No students were present on campus. The Magnolia Fire Department responded quickly and contained the fire to a small corner of the playground."

The district said it would also replace the equipment. On Tuesday afternoon, workers were already beginning the process of cleaning up. The hope now for parents is that the investigation turns up answers quickly.

"I think it's pretty sad that the kids are the ones who suffer," Andrew-Sosa said. "It's more work for the school department and more expenses people who pay their taxes."

Contractors will return to the school on Wednesday to continue the work on repairing the playground. The good news is the school has a second playground area behind the school, and that equipment was not affected by the fire.

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